University signs agreement on public engagement

Date 12.11.2015

The University of Northampton has strengthened its commitment to public engagement through the signing of a manifesto in partnership with the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

The agreement – ‘The Engaged University’ – states that universities and research institutes have a major responsibility to contribute to society through their public engagement, and that The University of Northampton is committed to sharing its knowledge, research and skills with the public, and to listen to and learn from the expertise and insight of the different communities who it engages with.

Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of The University of Northampton, stated:

“The values of the NCCPE’s manifesto – widening participation, student and community engagement – compliment the strategic aims of The University of Northampton. Universities have been inward facing for far too long – we have a lot to offer the public and our communities, and we have a lot to learn ourselves from these groups.”

Paul Manners, Director of NCCPE, added:

“We have been really delighted by the response to the ‘engaged university’ manifesto – nearly 50 universities have chosen to commit at the highest level to improving their support for public engagement, and to join a national network of universities working to the embed the principles enshrined within it.

“There’s never been a more important time for universities to demonstrate their commitment to working collaboratively and openly with wider society – and The University of Northampton is playing a leading role in showing how that obligation can be worked out in practice. Their strategic focus on social enterprise, partnership working and on deepening their engagement with society is truly impressive.’

The agreement signing was nurtured by Bill Toyer, Enterprise & Innovation Manager, School of Social Sciences, The University of Northampton, who first met with the NCCPE at the launch event of the ‘Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research’ in 2011. Bill concluded:

“In organising the event I felt it important to involve as many people as possible not just from within the University, but also external organisations who we could gain valuable insight from and build future collaborations with in developing a public engagement strategy that truly reflects the University’s engagement with the county and its communities.
“I was pleased to receive input from organisations such as Turning Point, The RSA, Unltd, Platform 51, Goodwill Solutions and NVC as well as our colleagues from local authorities, HE partners and the Students’ Union.  In addition it provides a platform for a public engagement summit which we will be running in conjunction with Paul and his team at the NCCPE in the Autumn 2012.”
The NCCPE supports universities to engage with the public. For further information about ‘The Engaged University – a manifesto for public engagement’ and the work of the NCCPE, please visit